Where are you from and how long have you lived in town? What brought you to the area?
I was born in Libertyville and lived my first two years in a rented trailer on a farm in Grayslake (which interestingly enough is now the location of The Chapel). We moved to WI and then when I was four we ended up in Minneapolis where I grew up and my parents still live. I came back to the area to attend Trinity College (now Trinity International University). I only planned to be here for 4-years of school, but my Senior year I started dating my now husband (while he was still a Freshman – gasp!) so my plans changed. I’ve now been in the area just over 30-years.
Do you have child(ren)? Age(s)
We have 5 kids whom we homeschool. Our oldest, Emma, attends Northern Michigan University way up the Upper Peninsula in Marquette. Micah is a Junior in High School dual enrolled at the College of Lake County. Sammy is in 6th grade. Wayne and Malayiah, both currently 4, are in PreSchool. (They’re our adopted kiddos and are 9-months apart.)
What are your favorite things to do in the area with and without your kids? Family friendly restaurant? Date night?
There is so much to do in the area that it’s hard to choose just a few things. Six Flags is in our backyard and we get passes there every other year. Adler Park has a disc golf course that we enjoy playing as a family. Last year my husband and I discovered the lakefront in Kenosha and enjoy packing a picnic and driving there for dates.
Are you involved in a business venture, a local organization, a creative endeavor or in the corporate world? Please share!
Thanks for asking!
I have been building a blog called More Mommy Moments. Most moms have better things to do with their time than take care of the house, so I offer help in encouragement in how they can make things more simple and efficient. Things like laundry, keeping track of everyone’s schedules, and meal prep!
In fact, this was really born out of our unexpected adoption. Adding one baby to a family changes patterns and routines. We added two. In addition to that, we had no idea we were going to be adopting, so we had less than 72-hours to prepare for them. And then, because these sweet kiddos were in a new environment, we had to work through all sorts of issues related to trauma.
It was overwhelming to say the least.
In the midst of all that, laundry was piling up and we were going with the fastest and easiest options for dinner – often takeout. It was hurting our health and our budget.
So I tapped into my experience as a professional organizer and began to work it through as if I were my own client. The end result was that I created a system for meal prep (planning, shopping, and cooking) that has made it almost automatic. So I have put it together into a course called “Easier Than Takeout”.
One of the things that I have been privileged to do was serve on the board of a local food pantry, Luke 3:11 Share Center. I saw an immediate connection between teaching simple meal prep and the work they are doing by feeding families in Lake County. One way that I am able to spread the news about the great work they are doing is that a portion of every purchase is going to support them. With recent events increasing demand for help, they really need help now, too.
How has this community been instrumental in getting you to where you are now?
The women in our community are amazing! They are always looking for ways to connect people to help both parties. I love this because it is very much the heart of how I am wired. It also reflects what we’re doing at More Mommy Moments by taking a need that moms have and connecting it to a strategy, solution, and support to take care of that need. It’s so fun getting to be part of that process – seeing the burden lifted off a mom’s shoulder because of help I was able to provide is extremely fulfilling.
Sharing about More Mommy Moments has been a great way that this community has supported me.
What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
There’s probably several things. I had a pet skunk as a kid. I never learned to swim. I never wanted to homeschool. I love capturing memories by taking pictures.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve gotten from another Mom?
I have a tendency to be task oriented (if you know me, this comes as no surprise.) I also have a haircut that is super low maintenance – it’s pretty much wash and go.
So when the Littles joined our family, one of the things I had to do was learn how to care for ethnic hair. I spent time on various Facebook groups asking questions and one of them was always “How long will that take?”
After a couple of weeks of learning and asking, one sweet mom messaged me. She told me that she had noticed I was always asking about how long it would take and she told me that it would take as long as it would take. While that in and of itself isn’t very helpful, she went on to say this: Doing your child’s hair is not about time, it’s about relationship.
That totally changed my perspective. And it’s one of the reasons why I like to make tasks as simple as possible. The less time I spend doing the things that I have to do, the more time I will have to do the things I want to do – like being with my kids.
What are your favorite places to travel near and far and why?
I love to travel! In High School and College I was able to do a lot more of it, particularly since I worked part-time for an airline. Hong Kong and Alaska are at the top of my list of favorite places. But there is so much more to explore! Our family is working toward spending a year RVing the country and seeing as much as we can.
Which podcasts and/or TED Talks inspire you the most?
There are a lot of great podcast options out there. My absolute favorite, and the one I look forward to being released each Tuesday, is “The Next Right Thing” by Emily P Freeman. It’s a podcast about making decisions both the regular daily ones as well as those that are significantly life changing. Learning to make decisions well has not only made big decisions less scary, it has helped to define and focus the priorities in my life.
Tell me about your favorite book/s. I love receiving fiction and non-fiction recommendations!
I love a good fiction book. Historical fiction and cozy mysteries are my favorites and my favorite authors in those genres are Elizabeth Musser and Ellery Adams, respectively.
What is next for you?
I’m excited to keep doing what I’m doing – growing More Mommy Moments and helping moms simplify their lives.